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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Lives on hold in farm community
Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn with Surrey farmers
Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn meet Surrey farmers in Reigate
The community at the heart of the Surrey foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is in shock, the local MP has said.

People living in the area of the Pirbright research site and the infected farm have put their lives on hold, said Woking MP Humfrey Malins.

He said one local farmer told him: "We are going through a living hell."

But he added that people were stoical and coping very well and he had visited one resident who was busy making sandwiches for the vets.

Part of village

The Conservative MP was speaking outside the Pirbright facility, which is shared by the Institute for Animal Health and private pharmaceutical company, Merial Animal Health.

"This institute has been around for such a long time, it's an integral part of the village," he said.

"The village is in shock.

"Much more concerned are those around here who have smallholdings or farms, whose life has been put on hold.

"They just could never see this coming."

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and environment secretary Hilary Benn discussed the crisis with local farmers on Monday at the Regional Disease Control Centre in Reigate, Surrey,

In Guildford, the council has cancelled a farmers' market on Tuesday after a request by producers and advice from trading standards officers.

Police near the farm at the centre of the outbreak
The protection zone includes Pirbright and the infected farm

Borough council leader Andrew Hodges said the council offered "deep-felt sympathies at this very difficult time" to farmers who have been affected, but it was a precaution due to the risk of cross-contamination.

He said: "It is vital we take action to support the long-term livelihood of farmers within our borough and beyond."

Protection and surveillance zones covering farms in the area have been expanded to 10km (6.2 miles) but footpaths remain open.

Cattle are grazed on heathland at Pirbright and Shalford and Stoke watermeadows owned by the council.

It has requested that members of the public do not enter the land, in the interests of minimizing contamination.

No refuse, recycling or garden waste collections will be made within the zones where access to a property is over an unmade road.



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